For some true solitude amongst vast wide open spaces expand your trip to the Lakes with a visit to one of Cumbria's stunning beaches. Blessed with mile upon mile of golden sands and with a magnificent mountainous backdrop, Cumbria's coastline is dramatically under-explored by the millions who visit the Lake District National Park every year.
Below are some of the best beaches within easy reach of Coniston and the surrounding area. Each beach is dog-friendly all year round so no one need miss out on what these expansive locations have to offer. Please do remember to check the tide times however to make the most of your visit!
With the dramatic and distinctive dome of Black Combe as its backdrop, Silecroft beach offers a vast expanse of sand at low tide. The beach is the perfect spot for a long walk, beach walks being unrivalled in their ability to clear out the senses and bolster the spirit. Meanwhile, the Silecroft Beach Café offers ice-cream to cool down with on a hot day and home-cooked snacks and meals to warm you up should the weather prove less amenable.
How to get there: Leave Coniston via the A593 towards Torver then continue to follow the A593 towards Broughton-in-Furness. At High Cross, Inn turn right and take the A595 signposted to Millom. Stay on this road for 7 miles, then at the junction turn left on to the A5093 then shortly after turn right down the road signposted to Silecroft. Continue along this road, through the village, until the road ends at the beach where there is ample parking.
One of Cumbria's best-kept secrets. With miles of sandhills to explore, stunning panoramic views across the bay to the Lake District fells and the National Trust Sandscale Haws Nature Reserve to discover, a visit to the beautiful Roan Head beach will provide ample opportunity to refresh your senses and restock your mental image bank. There are no facilities however so don’t forget to bring a picnic!
How to get there: From Coniston take the A593 to Torver and then the A5084 to Lowick Green. From here join the A5092 to Greenodd. From there take the A590 signposted to Barrow-in-Furness. Continue on through Ulverston, following signs for Barrow. After the third roundabout take the right turn signposted to Roanhead. At the end of the lane, turn left towards the beach and the pay and display National Trust Car Park. Once at the beach everything to your left is the nature reserve.
Connected to the mainland via a bridge, Walney Island boasts an 11-mile sandy beach running the entire length of its western shoreline. The beach encompasses two nature reserves and has its very own seal colony towards its southern end while its northern tip is a remote wilderness of marram grass and sandhills, being only accessible by foot. For a true sense of remoteness, and the best views of the Lakeland fells, head to West Shore Beach, park up and walk along the shoreline to the northernmost point of the island. Alternatively head straight across the narrow island to the beaches of West Shore, Sandy Gap or Biggar Bank to enjoy the long stretches of sand and expansive views of the Irish Sea, with Isle of Man visible on clear days.
How to get there: From Coniston take the A593 to Torver and then the A5084 to Lowick Green. From here join the A5092 to Greenodd. From there take the A590 signposted to Barrow-in-Furness then stay on the A590 to head into Barrow. Once in Barrow take the second exit on the roundabout signposted to Walney then at the next roundabout take the third exit to cross Jubilee Bridge. Once on Walney (which is only 11 miles in length but only 1 mile wide) you can choose to turn right to head to the North Walney Nature Reserve, left to head south to the seal colony and South Walney Nature Reserve or straight on to the beaches of Sandy Gap and Biggar Bank, at both of which there is ample parking.
Situated on the northern corner of Morecambe Bay, the southeast facing Bardsea Beach is a popular spot for families. Children, in particular, will love playing amongst the streams and gullies which weave their way through the grassy mounds lying in between the pebbles and the sand. Across the vastness of the bay Morecambe, Heysham and Blackpool Tower are easily visible on a clear day. The beach is amply equipped with ice-cream vendors (no trip to Bardsea is complete without a visit to the locally famous Roy’s Ices) while nearby Conishead Priory makes for an interesting visit whilst in the area. Likewise, a trip up to Birkrigg Common lying above Bardsea affords opportunities for walking, with stunning views of the bay below. There is even an ancient stone circle to discover amongst the bracken and sheep trod paths.
How to get there: From Coniston take the A593 to Torver and then the A5084 to Lowick Green. From here join the A5092 to Greenodd. From there take the A590 signposted to Ulverston. Upon entering Ulverston leave the A590 by turning left onto the A5087 signposted Bardsea. Follow this road past the Manjushri Kadampa Meditation Centre until you see the sea. There is ample parking on the left-hand side of the road, directly in front of the beach.
The shingle beach gives way to a vast expanse of sand heading out towards the Irish Sea. The beach is backed by large sand dunes, a natural playground for adventurous children however there is also a dedicated children’s playpark making this an ideal destination for young families looking for some fresh sea air. There’s also a café on hand, providing obligatory sea-side ice-creams as well as hot food and drinks. When the tide is out, visitors can walk along the beach to Silecroft, or along the former sea wall towards Millom. The walk along the old sea wall passes the remains of disused iron ore mines, which has been filled with water to create a lagoon in what is now the Hodbarrow RSPB nature reserve, home to terns, lapwings, coots, wild swans, teals and eiders to name a few.
How to get there: Leave Coniston via the A593 towards Torver then continue to follow the A593 towards Broughton-in-Furness. At High Cross, Inn turn right and take the A595 signposted to Millom. Stay on this road for 3 miles before leaving it to join the A5093 signposted The Green. After 2.6 miles turn right onto Main Street, signposted Haverigg. Continue along this road, through the village of Haverigg until you reach the Harbour Hotel. Turn right down Sea View until you reach Haverigg Beach Carpark.